We associate our RVs with travel, fun, and excitement. Few of us want to think about medical emergencies on the road, and, with adequate health-insurance coverage, what is there to think about, right? Wrong. Although health insurance covers medical treatment, it does not cover the costs of medical-evacuation transportation—costs that can run to $25,000 or more. This is where emergency medical evacuation (a.k.a. medevac) assistance plans come in.
What Is Medevac Assistance?
Medical evacuation basically involves transportation, usually over long distances and from one medical facility to another, under the care of medical professionals. If a patient’s condition is critical, this could mean traveling in an air ambulance with a medical team and equipment. If a patient is in need of only some assistance, this could mean traveling on a commercial flight accompanied by a medical professional.
Medevac assistance plans not only cover the costs of transporting a patient, but also, depending on the plan and level of coverage, his or her travel companions. Although it’s unpleasant to think about, medevac plans additionally cover repatriation—that is, transporting a deceased person home. If the emergency requires leaving an RV behind, some medevac plans also subsidize having another family member or a bonded professional driver get it home if needed.
Who Needs a Medevac Plan?
In general, the farther you travel from home and the more remote the destination, the more you should consider investing in a medevac assistance plan. Other considerations include how often you use your RV and how long your trips are, whether or not there’s only one member of your travel party who can drive your RV, and whether or not someone in your travel party has a history of medical problems.
Most plans require that you be 100 to 150 miles from home. Covering such distances when seriously ill or injured is difficult enough, but imagine if you were, say, 500 or 1,000 miles away. And, in remote areas, the closest facilities might not be equipped to properly treat all medical conditions, making transportation to another facility essential.
Although certain pre-existing conditions might preclude you from coverage by some medevac plans, other plans have few such restrictions. Some even let you choose the facility to which you’ll ultimately be transported. And, if you have a medical history, it’s always best to get care at home, under the supervision of your physician.
Finally, in an emergency, the last things that a family needs to worry about are the arrangement and expense of travel—for the patient, themselves, or the RV. Having a provider whose administrators take care of everything will eliminate extra stress.
Who Offers RV Medevac Assistance Plans?
One of the main providers is SkyMed, which works directly with RVers and other travelers as well as through various RV-manufacturer owners’ clubs. You can also purchase medevac coverage through the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) and Good Sam Club. Plans offered by all three outfits really are geared to the needs of RVers. Their representatives even attend RV rallies and shows to answer questions and sign people up.
Note, though, that SkyMed and the plans offered by FMCA and Good Sam will probably deny you medevac coverage not only for certain pre-existing medical conditions but also if you’re an adventurous RVer who plans to participate in a dangerous activity such as skydiving or mountain climbing. If either scenario is true for you, look into Medjet Assist coverage, which has few exclusions and will transport you to your medical facility back home. This company is also a good choice if you occasionally leave your RV home and travel outside of North America. That said, it does not offer RV-return service should you have to leave your unit behind.
What Do Medevac Assistance Plans Cost?
Plan costs vary by provider, the number of people covered, and benefits. There are also differences in maximum amounts paid, and there are different limits on specific benefits such as transportation-cost coverage for dependent children in addition to a spouse. The devil is in the details. If you believe that medevac coverage is right for you, consider your needs and select a plan that bests suit them. Don’t make a decision based merely upon club membership or cost.
The FMCA and Good Sam plans emphasize travel assistance and advice. Both plans will arrange to bring your RV back home, as long as the unit is highway operable. Currently, the FMCA includes some basic medical-evacuation services free with a paid FMCA membership. The Good Sam plan is priced affordably ($109 for an annual family membership) but doesn’t guarantee transport to your home medical facility. Note that, from time to time, these organizations evaluate their plan providers, coverage, and costs; always check in with them for the latest details.
SkyMed’s program is more comprehensive. It, too, will arrange to get your RV home, but it will also cover transport to your home medical facility. And, if you need a family member to fly in to help, the company will arrange it immediately. Generally it’s the most expensive plan, though, at around $450 for an annual family membership. Such a membership with Medjet Assist costs around $400.